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A grape time was had by all; record set, money raised for uveitis research

Mira McCurdy congratulates her father, Ross, after he set a new world distance record for throwing and catching a grape in his mouth, July 7. He made the effort to raise money for uveitis research. Mira has uveitis, an eye inflammation that can, if untreated, lead to blindness.                                         - Kipp Robertson / Herald
Mira McCurdy congratulates her father, Ross, after he set a new world distance record for throwing and catching a grape in his mouth, July 7. He made the effort to raise money for uveitis research. Mira has uveitis, an eye inflammation that can, if untreated, lead to blindness.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / Herald

KINGSTON — Ross McCurdy may have set a new world record for the longest self-thrown grape catch July 7. The record awaits verification by Guinness World Records. One thing is for sure, though — McCurdy’s effort raised $2,500 for uveitis research.

McCurdy said the amount raised was a surprise. “We did not expect that,” he said. And money is still being raised at the Oak Table Cafe, the Kingston restaurant owned by McCurdy and his wife, Nicole.

The fundraiser was held at Kola Kole Park. McCurdy threw a grape forward into the air, sprinted and caught it in his mouth. His pending record was measured at 68 feet 1 inch. The current record, held by Ashrita Furman of New York, is 28 feet 2 inches.

It took 10 attempts to break the record. McCurdy then broke his own record twice, after more than 15 attempts, to get the 68-foot record.

McCurdy admits he was little nervous at first. Knowing there would be a crowd and news media, he had butterflies in his stomach. But it didn’t take long for him to warm up.

The grape-catch attempt was not without its hiccups. At one point, McCurdy accidentally ran into a TV news cameraman, putting a limp in his step. Despite the injury, he may have broken the world record by 40 feet.

It may be a while before McCurdy finds out if his new record is accepted. He holds the world record for most eggs — 32 — cracked in one minute with one hand behind his back. He said it took about three weeks for Guinness to verify the record and send him a plaque.

McCurdy’s 7-year-old daughter, Mira, has uveitis. It’s something she and her family have dealt with since she began treatment for junior rheumatoid arthritis. Uveitis is swelling and irritation of the center of the eye, or uvea. The uvea supplies blood to the retina. If not treated it can lead to blindness, and is the third-leading cause of blindness.

Up to 80 percent of all childhood uveitis cases are associated with junior rheumatoid arthritis, according to the American Uveitis Society.

In a previous interview, McCurdy said his family wants to raise money for the Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation so “the next little girl that comes along with it will have an easier time.”

McCurdy would like to see the fundraiser become an annual event, though it might not always include an attempt to set a world record.

McCurdy’s next record attempts include making the tallest stack of buttermilk pancakes and doing the tallest standing-box jump.

 

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